Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

Yeah, yeah.  I can hear your groans from here.  Poor Heather is stuck in the land of eternal summer, no snow in July, no blizzards in November.  I’ve been informed of the “heat wave” that hit Alberta with temperatures soaring to 35ºC.  So y’all know what I’m complaining about.

Salads are perfect while it’s too hot to attempt turning on a stove.

The first salad incorporates tomatoes from the green house.  A hint of arugula spices up red lettuce and spinach.  Threw some roasted chicken breast for protein.  Creamy Caesar dressing to top it all off.

The second salad can be done on the grill or on the stove.  It’s really a toss-up for me: get a sunburn while cooking outside or heat up the house a little and crank up the fans.  I decided to save my skin this time and used a grill pan on the stove.  While I was assembling this salad, I had the jar of home-made dressing in one hand and tongs in the other.  I decided to give the dressing one more shake to mix it up again just before adding some to the zucchini and shallots in a bowl.  The lid was loose.  Dressing went everywhere!  The kids asked me what happened and all that came out was “Mommy made a BIG mess!”

Prawn Summer Salad

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 small shallot, sliced
  • handful or so of greens (arugula, spinach, lettuce)
  • 1 zucchini, peeled with a veggie peeler to make ribbons
  • 2-3 prawns, heads on and all, rinsed
  • Ponzu dressing (1 part Ponzu + 1 part agave nectar + 1 part lemon juice + 3 parts good olive oil + red chili flakes)

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, if you left the pan to pre-heat you might burn the pine nuts!  Just a word of caution for you.  Set the lightly toasted pine nuts aside.  Add a little olive oil to the pan and grill the pepper and shallot.  Meanwhile, put the lettuce(s) on the plate.  You can briefly grill the zucchini, if it’s a baby and tender it doesn’t need to be cooked at all.  Put the zucchini in a bowl and add the peppers and shallot. Grill the prawns until they are pink on both sides and curl into a C-shape.  A couple of minutes per side.  While the prawns cook, pour the parts of the Ponzu dressing in a narrow jar, put the lid on tightly and shake to emulsify.  Pour some dressing into the bowl with the zucchini, peppers and shallot, toss to coat.  Pile the zucchini on the lettuce.  Rest the prawns on the pile.  Garnish with toasted pine nuts.  Additional dressing can be used from the jar, I like to leave it on the table during dinner.


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I have a smallish container of mint growing on the back patio.  This little herb has quadrupled in size since I brought it home.  Besides Mojitos and lamb shanks, I was at a loss for the purpose of this fresh green plant.  I asked my neighbours if they had any ideas… Jen suggested adding some mint to my brownies.  Hmmm… (sounds of brain gears grinding)

Zucchini were really cheap at the store this week, 88 c/lb!, so I loaded up with a half-dozen small tender green squash.  They were intended for a soup or stir-fry but ended up marrying chocolate cake with my patio mint. 

With only a minor amount of mint, the plain zucchini bread out of BH&G cook book took a spin on the fresh side.  The added dark cocoa powder was really a curtain of smoke and mirrors for the kids, if they don’t see green – they won’t think YUCK!  The kids absolutely stuffed their pretty little faces with this cake, and asked for more.  You could imagine the smirk being held back with great force as I watched Little Sister break off bite-sized morsels to munch on.

Here is my modified version of zucchini bread, based on the recipe found in Better Homes & Garden’s cook book:

Mint Chocolate (Zucchini) Cake

  • 1/4 cup plain apple sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped fine
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded (2 small zucchini)

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF and grease a bread loaf pan or a 8″x8″ brownie pan.  Cut a piece of parchment to the size of the bottom of the pan and place inside.

Mix the wet ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix the dry ingredients, sifting if there are lumps, in a large bowl and make a well in the middle.

Pour the wet into the well made in the dry ingredients.  Add the zucchini last and stir by hand until the flour disappears.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 45 (brownie 8×8) – 55( loaf) minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 20 minutes before attempting to remove the hot loaf.  The parchment should help release the loaf from the bottom of the pan, you may need to poke a knife around the sides carefully as not to cut the loaf.

I call it a loaf thinking you’re baking it in a bread pan, and cake when baked in a brownie pan.  I used a brownie pan and it worked fabulously!  This cake will keep in the fridge in a sealed bag for up to a week.  If you’re having a tea party, this would be a nice addition to the table.

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My grocery store around the corner is now carrying a variety of international foods.  More Indian products are making an appearance next to the usual Latin fare.

Why not take the advice of Sandra Lee and make Indian food at home with a bit of help?  This way I could probably manage a weekday supper that is infused with Indian spices without part of the fuss!  And, if I know what tikka masala is supposed to taste like, chances are it can be replicated.

Chicken and Veggie Tikka Masala

The instructions say to cook chicken or veggies then add the sauce, then simmer for a while.  I took the sauce and chicken thighs and tossed it in a bag to marinate overnight. 

Chop some red onion, zucchini, tomato, and a clove of garlic.  Sauté.

Remove the veggies and dump the chicken and sauce into the pan, reducing the heat to low.  Once the chicken is cooked through, add a can of coconut milk, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp curry powder.  Add the veggies and cover.  Let this stew until the coconut milk reduces and the curry cooks.

Serve over fluffy rice.

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